Genetic and genomic determinants of resilience in livestock production


This project will investigate the genetics and genomics of resilience traits in sheep. We are studying the impact of pathogens and physiological factors using genomic technologies and genetic analyses. The goal is to determine the influence of genetics and selection on production outcomes in the context of multiple disease challenges encountered by these animals.


Associate Professor Peter Williamson, Dr Mehar Singh Khatkar

Research Location

Sydney School of Veterinary Science - Generic

Program Type



Environmental challenges from parasites and infectious disease are a major concern in animal production systems. Along with physical and physiological factors, these parameters influence farm productivity and directly impact the health and welfare of the animals. We have initiated a research program to understand the complex and varied responses of sheep raised in the same production system. Individuals within these systems may have very different production outcomes, some of which may be influenced by complex genetic factors. Complementary studies in the program will define pathogen effects and disease burden, with others measuring physiologically relevant biomarkers. This project will explore phenotypic indices and analysis of genetic effects that contribute to variation.The project will employ current technologies for genome-wide genotyping and analysis. There will also be an opportunity to develop and apply predictive models that may be applied for testing and potentially selection in the future.

Additional Information

A PhD scholarship valued at $25,000 per annum (tax exempt) is available to an Australian citizen/permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen enrolled full-time for 3 years to participate in this project. However, students will also apply for a Research Training Program (RTP) Stipend and University of Sydney Postgraduate Award (UPA). International students should apply for RTP for international students. The applicant must hold a Master’s or honour’s degree in a relevant science or informatics based discipline, with an interest in genomics, genetics or animal health and production. The successful applicant mat be based on either the Sydney (Camperdown) or Camden campus. This project is part of an integrated new research program aimed at understanding key factors involved in host resilience in the face of endemic infection, linking environmental, pathogen and host interactions.The successful candidate will work within a large multidisciplinary and supportive team.

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sheep, Genetics, genomics, animal production, animal health, farm animals, Infectious Disease, Parasites

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 2206

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